Children at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center get special surprise during a difficult time
Hospitalization can be a stressful and scary experience for any adult. For a child, it can be even harder. One boy found a way to ease the stress of serious medical procedures for his fellow kids — giving thousands the gift of joy.
In Fall 2017, the Bob Woodruff Foundation provided a grant to Building Better Days, an organization founded by Ben, the son of a retired Coast Guard Commander. Ben was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015, and after he completed treatment he wanted to give back to other children undergoing treatments. By providing children with toys, they can concentrate on something other than the medical procedures they are receiving. The toys are an important resource that can calm the children, reduce the stress of the military parents, and ease the work of the nurses and medical team.
Through Bob Woodruff Foundation funding, Building Better Days has provided toys to 616 inpatient children and 976 outpatient children (1,592 children total) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
The toys were all given to the military pediatric patients receiving services, or to their siblings, which also helps the parents. Siblings often spend the day in the clinic with their brother and sister, and can have a hard time coping.
Parents have shared that the toys are a great way to entertain children who are getting an infusion, and are an excellent alternative to electronics. Through the toys, children gain a sense of accomplishment and control that can be lost during hospitalization.
Thanks to Ben and Building Better Days, thousands of military families have something to smile about this holiday season.